A/N: The title is stolen from an Ingmar Bergman film of the 1950s, which was later the basis for the musical A Little Night Music. There's no similarity of plot, however.
My thanks to my brilliant beta, The Real Snape.
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Smiles of a Summer Night
by Kelly Chambliss
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"[At Grimmauld Place, Harry] also caught sight of his Transfiguration teacher, Professor McGonagall, looking very odd in a Muggle dress and coat, though she also seemed too busy to linger." - - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter Six, "The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black"
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Tuesday, 16 August 1995, 3:40
Mad-Eye Moody, his mad eye spinning, stood motionless in the upstairs corridor of Number 12, Grimmauld Place. One part of his mind was focused on scanning the complex wards protecting the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix.
And another part was focused on bed.
Only a few minutes ago, he had been in his. But he had got up in the predawn darkness to run a safety check on the security enchantments.
He did so every night - - several times a night, actually. He got up and let his magic eye penetrate every corner of every place he stayed in, because you never knew what could creep in while you were wasting time sleeping. Darkness, all kinds of darkness, was everywhere, and if keeping it at bay meant sleeping only a couple of hours at a stretch, then that's what it meant. Any fool knew that constant vigilance wasn't compatible with a full night's sleep.
Still, just because you had to get out of bed didn't mean that the getting was easy. In fact, on this night in particular, it had been damned hard. And so had he.
Because tonight, for the first time in longer than he cared to admit, someone had been in his bed with him.
His magic eye could see her now, through the walls of the room. She slept curled inward, one arm stretched out in front of her. Right now, that arm touched only the sheet. But quite recently, it had touched him - - had been wrapped around him, in fact, and that unmistakable body, so like her with its sharp angles and unexpected softnesses, had been curved against him instead of in on itself.
Hence the hardness. In several senses.
If anyone had told him even yesterday that Minerva McGonagall would be sleeping with him today, he'd have laughed - - or maybe spit - - in their face. But here she was, and he still wasn't quite sure how it had happened. Minerva always had that effect on him: she could cut the ground out from under his feet faster than a DE could say "AK."
Yet, just a week ago, he had almost convinced himself that he wanted to have nothing to do with her unless it involved necessary Order business. After all, she had let him languish in a goddamned trunk for a year while Barty Crouch, junior - - Barty. Fucking. Crouch. Fucking. Junior - - had impersonated him at Hogwarts.
All those hours Minerva had spent in his arms during that never-to-be-forgotten summer of 1975, and now she couldn't be arsed to pay enough attention to him to figure out that the "Alastor Moody" teaching at Hogwarts for nine damn months was not the man she'd once shared her bed with?
True, their affair had happened twenty years ago, but so what? Moody might be missing a leg here and half an arse there, but the important bits were still the same. And they hadn't parted on bad terms. They'd both known they couldn't stay together for the long haul - - well, not without driving each other to Unforgivables - - but they had remained friends.
Oh, aye, they'd had their little set-tos over the years. She'd been quite shirty, in fact, after she'd started keeping company with Gilver Macmillan, and Moody had tried to warn her - - for her own damned good - - that Macmillan was all wrong for her. She'd stood up sharp as you please and informed him that her "private life" was none of his business. As if he himself hadn't been her effing private life at one point!
But they'd got over that bump in the road (and maybe a few others) and had been friends again, or so he'd thought. Even though he hadn't seen much of her once the first war ended, he'd never stopped caring about her.
He might even have said he loved her, if he'd been the sort of bloke to believe in love. But whatever he called it, she mattered to him. Very much. He'd thought she felt the same about him, and even if she hadn't - - even if she'd held that Macmillan business against him - - well. . .she still should have known. Dammit, Minerva should have known that Crouch was an imposter.
A few times, when he was in Crouch's trunk, Moody had come to a confused, drug-hazed consciousness of the hell he was in, and the only tiny comfort he'd had to cling to was the thought that Minerva would finally understand and would save him.
But she hadn't. She evidently hadn't cared enough to talk to him - - or the man she would have thought was him - - even though she'd been seeing him every day. And it wasn't as if that damned Azkaban of a school offered her much else in the way of romantic male companionship. She'd hardly be interested in that girl's blouse of an Albus, and Flitwick was like a brother to her. So who was left? Filch? Hog-hung Hagrid? That pasty-faced, lying Death Eater Snape? Not likely.
No, Moody would have expected her to jump for joy (or, being Minerva, to have given a sharp nod of approval) to learn that her old flame Alastor was joining the staff. Yet she had apparently either ignored him or else knew him so little that she couldn't even spot a faker.
Or at least, that's what he'd initially thought. So he'd been ready to write her off. Wasn't that the bitter lesson that he had re-learnt during his months in the trunk? Never let his guard down with anyone. Ever. Trust no one: not his few remaining relatives (distant cousins, and he'd never liked them to start with), not his old Auror corps, and not his old lovers. Especially not his old lovers.
And extra-especially not Minerva. At Hogwarts, she'd apparently wanted to rub his nose in the fact that the past was the past, as if the two of them had been nothing to each other. Well, fine, he had told himself firmly. Fine bloody fine with him. The hell with her. If she didn't want to know him, then he didn't want to know her.
That's why, when she'd twice come to Grimmauld Place this summer to try to talk to him, he'd refused to see her. He didn't stay at Headquarters very often - - no matter how safe Dumbledore said the place was, it wasn't smart to make a habit of sleeping in the same house too often - - but Minerva had known when he was around.
So she'd come and asked for him, but he'd got that scruffy Sirius Black say he wasn't in, even though Min knew damned well he was. Moody thought she might be hurt by that. Told himself he'd be pleased if she was.
But then, last week, after he'd told Black to send Minerva away once more, he'd let his magic eye watch her as Black talked to her in the entry hall. The boy, Potter, had been there as well, standing gormlessly in a doorway, and he had watched her, too, staring at her like he'd never seen a woman in Muggle clothes before.
She wore a dark red dress under a black jacket, and as far as Moody could tell, she looked pretty convincing. He didn't like Muggle women's clothing as a rule, but he wasn't going to complain about any garment that showed Minerva's legs.
"I'm sorry, Professor, but Mad-Eye. . .I mean, uh, Moody, um, well, he isn't in," Black had said awkwardly, all but announcing the fact that he was being cavalier with the truth.
Damned mongrel. What the hell kind of a performance was that? He'd been a good enough liar in his Hogwarts days, always getting into scrapes and trying to bluff his way out of them. Minerva had despaired of him. And now - - what? He couldn't even manage a little social prevarication in his own home? Merlin save them if the DEs ever got hold of him; he'd spill his guts in a blink.
But it wasn't until later that Moody thought about the DEs; at the time, he was concentrating only on Minerva. He didn't know if Potter caught the flash of pain that crossed her face when Black delivered his message, but Moody saw it.
And contrary to what he'd expected, it didn't please him in the least. No, it damn well shook him, although Minerva handled it the way she handled all the world's blows: by hiding whatever hurt she felt. She had squared her shoulders and set her face into those stern lines that grew deeper every year and had taken her leave.
Moody had felt like shit.
Black stormed back to him, sunken eyes flashing. "I don't know what your game is, Moody, but I'm not going to play it for you any more. I'm not your errand boy or your paid muscle or whatever-the-hell. Next time you want to sucker-punch Professor McGonagall, you do it yourself. Or don't you have the balls?"
Moody's only reply had been to curl his lip, but Black had been right, of course. Moody could have faced down Voldemort himself without a tremor, but when it came to Minerva, he apparently didn't have the bottle even to talk to her.
Well, that was going to change. Before Black had finished slouching out of the room again, Moody had made up his mind to give Minerva the chance to tell her side of the story. He decided to talk to her at the earliest opportunity.
Which had come last evening. An Order meeting had been called at Grimmauld Place, and Minerva had been there, of course. She hadn't tried to speak to him, though, and when the meeting ended, she was up and out of the drawing room before he could drag his sorry arse out of his chair. He'd had to get one of those ubiquitous kids to go after her and ask her to wait.
It had been Harry Potter's friend, that girl with the odd name. . .Honoria, something like that? The brainy one with the broom up her bum. She reminded him of Minerva, come to think of it.
Aye. . .at least the schoolteacher side of Minerva, anyway. As he stood in the upstairs corridor now, letting his eye start to scan the ground floor, Moody grinned. Definitely not the side Min had shown in his bed tonight. Or on all those other long-ago nights. . .and afternoons. . .and mornings. . .when their affair had been new and red-hot and just hearing someone say her name could give him a raging stiffie.
When he looked back, it seemed to him that he and Min had not got out of bed during the entire eight months they'd been a couple, but he suspected that memory wasn't quite accurate. They must have had a few other things to do. Surely there had been work, and Order business, and probably she had been at that damned Dumbledore's beck and call, as usual. There'd been a war on, after all. Which was part of the reason they had come together in the first place, of course: any minute might have been their last, and you took your pleasure while you could.
He rather missed those libido-driven days, but he had to admit that life was definitely easier now that he controlled his hormones instead of the other way around.
Not that his control, or lack of it, was really the issue any more, not now that he was Mad-Eye the maimed. No one but Minerva was daft enough to fuck the old cripple these days. She was just the second woman who had let him touch her - - for free - - since he'd lost his leg.
The only one since he'd lost his eye.
But before they'd reached that point, they'd first had to settle the issue of Barty Crouch.
Last night, Minerva had got Moody's message from Honoria and had been waiting for him in the Grimmauld Place entry hall when he finally managed to gimp his way out of the drawing room and down the stairs.
To anyone else, her expression would have looked forbidding, but Moody could tell she was anxious. The angrier she was, the thinner her mouth became, but only when she was worried did she bite her bottom lip the way she was doing as he approached.
"Spare a few minutes?" he'd asked, probably more gruffly than he should have. He'd have preferred to talk with her somewhere else, away from this constant crowd of Weasleys and schoolkids and those blasted portraits and that damned smirking Black. But he wasn't about to go out somewhere public; he wanted to talk, not watch his fucking back. So they'd have to make do with where they were.
"All right," Minerva had said. Moody jerked his head toward a little-used side parlour, and in they went. . .
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Monday, 15 August 1995, 21:46
Minerva perched primly on the edge of a plain wooden chair, leaving enough space between its straight back and her own to have made any Victorian grandmother proud. The sight brought out the worst in Moody.
"Could you just relax for five minutes?" he demanded. "You look like you think I'm going to hex you blue."
Minerva's eyes narrowed, and Moody cursed himself. Damn. That wasn't the way he'd intended to start this conversation. He covered his mistake by taking a swig from his hip flask, then tried again.
And muffed it just as badly.
"Why the hell didn't you know?"
"Know what?" Minerva asked, perhaps not unreasonably, but the question set Moody off.
"Barty Crouch," he gritted. "That's what. Remember him? Mr Bartemius Death Eater Crouch junior? The one who pretended to be me for an entire sodding year, and you didn't notice? You saw him every day in the staff room and at the high table and probably in his goddamn bed for all I know, and you didn't notice it wasn't me?"
He was shouting now, could feel the rage and humiliation and, yes, the fear of the trunk filling him again, and he forced himself to shut up, to take a deep, ragged breath and shut the hell up before he did something really stupid. Well, even more stupid than yelling at Minerva when all he'd wanted to do was talk to her. Now the whole damned house had probably heard him, and no doubt that effing portrait would start shrieking any minute. Gods, what a cock-up.
Minerva had gone sheet-white while he'd been ranting, and now he waited for her to yell back at him. Min always gave as good as she got in a fight, as Moody well knew: the two of them had had some legendary ones.
But tonight was different. There was none of her trademark shouting or stalking off, none of the wayward magic that used to snap sparks out of the very air around her when she was angry.
Instead, her face wore that same look of pain he'd seen a week ago, on that day when Black had told her Moody wasn't in. And, as she rose slowly to her feet, she seemed to have aged by a decade just since they'd entered the room.
"I'm sorry, Alastor," she said. "Of course you're angry. I failed you, and I'm sorry. If I knew a way to atone, I would, but it's too late now. I know you'd prefer to have nothing to do with me, and I understand that, but I hope we'll be able to work together for the good of the Order. I suppose that's why you told Miss Granger you wanted to see me? Something for the Order?"
Moody ran his hand over his face. It felt scratchy; he must have forgotten to shave again. "The Order? No. No, it's not about the Order. It's. . ."
Merlin, but he hated this. Part of him had been itching to tell her off for weeks, and now that he had done it, he didn't feel better at all. He wanted. . .damn, he didn't know what he wanted, except that it wasn't this quiet, abject woman who seemed like a stranger.
If this was what they had come to, the two of them, no wonder she hadn't known him: evidently time and loss had changed them both beyond recognition.
Well, sod that for a game of soldiers. He'd been doing a lot of rethinking in the last few weeks, and now, standing in that grim excuse for a parlour, with the dust of pureblood corruption acrid in his nose, Moody vowed that things were going to be different. Starting now.
Starting with Minerva. This woman, standing here with her dark head bowed, wasn't his Minerva. His Minerva wasn't apologetic and sorrowful. She was sharp and sarcastic, fierce and infuriating. Smart. Funny. Opinionated. Caring and passionate.
And he wanted her back. No matter how livid he was with her, no matter what levels of distraction she drove him to, he wanted his Minerva back.
That's what he'd finally realised after that business with Black last week. Moody was unhappy with Minerva about Crouch - - he was narked as hell, actually - - but when he considered what it would really mean to cut her out of his life, he'd come face-to-face with the fact that it wasn't a prospect he enjoyed.
In fact, if they could get past the Crouch thing, he thought he might like to see even more of her than he normally did. They were both older now, and wiser - - well, at least she was probably wiser - - and maybe they could manage things better this time.
Not that he was thinking of anything long-term or permanent. Of course not. Hell, he was 72 years old, he was missing almost as many limbs as old Silvanus Kettleburn, and there was another fucking war about to start. Probably not a single damned member of the Order of the Phoenix had any "long-term" to think about, anyway.
But if whatever time he had left included a night or two with Minerva, Moody wouldn't complain.
He wanted her back.
A short, sharp shock, that's what she needed. Something to jolt her into herself. And though he did say so himself, no one was better at jolting Minerva McGonagall than Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody.
"Well?" he barked. "Did you?"
"Did I what?"
He saw a welcome touch of exasperation returning to her face and went in for the kill.
"Did you fuck him?"
Her head jerked up, and her lips all but disappeared. "I beg your pardon?"
"It's not a hard question, Minerva. Did. You. Fuck. Barty. Crouch?"
She hated that sort of language, Moody knew, and he watched as she flushed, the blood rushing into her pale skin to remind him of how she used to look in bed, when she'd come to his touch. He could almost feel her beneath his hands. . .
"And just why, precisely, does this matter to you?" the present-day Minerva enquired, the icy edge to her voice also just the way he remembered it.
But all at once Moody didn't feel like playing his game any longer. All he wanted was some straight talk, man to woman. "What matters," he said, "is that you didn't know me from Barty."
The Minerva who looked at him now was still sorrowful, but no longer abject. He could feel her intensity reawakening, and without thinking, he took her hands.
Her wand, he saw, was just visible under the edge of her sleeve; she'd had it ready to hex him if he'd been dangerous. Moody nearly smiled. Good. She hadn't lost her vigilance.
"Why didn't you know, Min?" he asked quietly. "Had you forgotten me so completely?"
"Oh, Alastor, don't be silly. I haven't forgotten anything about you. The reason I didn't spot Barty is that I scarcely saw him all year. He kept very much to himself, and, well. . .for the most part, he simply refused to speak to me."
She smiled suddenly, and the change softened her face wonderfully. "When Albus told me he'd engaged you to teach, I was so pleased. It had been so many years since weíd spent any time together, and I'd missed you. On the night you. . .I mean, on the night Crouch arrived, I went to his rooms after the Welcoming Feast. I hoped we could talk. . ."
She began to worry her lower lip again; obviously just thinking about Crouch was making her anxious, and Moody felt himself bristle. If that prick had hurt her. . .
"He came to the door," Minerva went on, "but he barely opened it, just enough so that I could see his magic eye. I said, 'May I come in? I thought you might like to share a dram, for old times' sake.' And he said, 'As far as I'm concerned, there are no old times. Just stay the hell away from me, do you understand?' And then he slammed the door."
"And that was it?" Moody said, scowling. "That's all it took? He said 'go away,' and off you meekly went like a good little girl? For the rest of the damned year?"
"No, of course not." She frowned at him. "Are you going to let me explain or not?" When he said nothing further, she continued, "I tried several more times to talk with him, but he either refused to answer his door, or if we were in the staffroom, he'd simply get up and leave. I realise now, of course, that he was protecting himself. Crouch knew who I was because he'd been my student, but he would have had no idea how well I might know you. But I didn't think of that at the time. I just thought. . ."
She trailed off in a very un-Minerva-like fashion, so Moody prompted, "You thought what?"
"Well, there had been rumours about you, Alastor - - that you'd gone rogue, that you were unbalanced. I refused to believe them at first; in fact, I was quite sharp with Augusta when she owled to complain about your hiring.
"Then when Crouch arrived, he did behave oddly, and I was worried - - but not, I confess, about whether he was the person he appeared to be. I was worried that you weren't well. There was one disturbing incident in particular, when Crouch tried to discipline the Malfoy boy by turning him into a ferret and bouncing him on the flagstones. I put a stop to it. Probably I should have realised then that such behaviour wasn't like the Alastor I had known, but - - "
"But there were those tales about how paranoid and unstable I'd become," Moody finished. "The ferret business just made you think they were true."
"I must say, I was concerned, yes. Finally I determined that I would speak to you whether you wanted to listen to me or not. I went to the DADA classroom one day after lessons and spelled the door shut and confronted you. . .him."
"Very Gryffindor of you."
She grimaced. "Yes, well. Crouch had obviously realised by that time that you and I had once been more than friends. And he. . .well, he was quite vicious about it, Alastor. Quite vicious indeed. Very crass, and. . .well, as I say, vicious. It was hurtful, I don't deny it, and when he told me again to stay away from him, I was only too happy to comply. I thought, 'very well, if that's how you want it, that's how it will be.' And I kept my word."
Moody quirked a smile of half amusement, half regret. "That's my Min. Stubborn as ever."
She didn't smile back. "So it seems. In any case, after that afternoon, I spoke to him only when absolutely necessary for school business. We had only one additional encounter that could be considered an actual conversation, and I know now that his purpose in speaking at that time was to funnel information to Harry Potter.
"It's a long story, but he managed it by baiting me, telling me how stupid Harry was, that he'd never be bright enough to think of using gillyweed to help him in the Tournament. I was rather harsh in response, and. . .I suppose I was just too angry to pay sufficient attention to him, as a person."
She stopped and drew a breath. "That's how it happened. But in reality, there's no excuse. I'm sorry, Alastor," she said, squeezing his hands. "I should have known."
He grunted. Her story made sense; he could see it happening that way. "Well," he said finally, "At least you didn't just ignore me. And no one else twigged, either. Dumbledore didn't."
"Dumbledore never spent a summer in your bed," she retorted, and then arched an eyebrow at him. "That I know of."
Moody lifted his head and laughed aloud. His Minerva was coming back.
"Unlike some people," he said, tapping her cheek with his fingertips and spinning his magic eye at her suggestively, "he's not invited."